During my trip to the library this week I was perusing the limited selection they have (it's a small town library, and I wasn't up to making the trip to the nearest large library this week) and found myself reaching for a book by one of the authors I read. Only, I was pretty sure I'd already read this one, which is why I hadn't picked it up the last time I saw it. I read the inside cover... and it seemed familiar, but the first few pages did not.
I am now convinced I haven't read it, mainly because a quick perusal of pages in the back revealed a scene with a bulldozer, which I know for a fact I have not read before. It did leave me wondering why it was I was so convinced that I had read it, though, and I think I've come up with the answer.
Or at least what I hope is the answer, because the alternative is that I'm reading books and forgetting that I've read them. (Some of you may be thinking to yourselves, "That'd be great!" because you could go back and rediscover old favorites. I am inclined to think this would not be great. After all, how else would I know to skip all those chapters on cetology in Moby Dick?)
One of the drawbacks to getting books from the library is that, unlike a trip to the bookstore, I can't stock up. I know about how many books and by what authors I can read through in the alloted time, so I generally don't have to renew them. But this means that in any given trip, I have to make choices. Which means I may pick up a book, read the inside cover - which I do even when I know the author and have a good idea what the book will be about - and then opt not to get it that trip because another book/author does a better job of capturing my fancy for that trip.
Which leaves me in the position of sometimes having picked up the same book, and read the same jacket copy, multiple times. Creating the impression that I've read the book, when in fact I haven't read anything more than the inside covers. I'm not sure if this says something about my mental acuity, or the art of writing good jacket copy, or just that the passing of time is catching up with my brain. But it was good to solve this little mystery.
Even if it still leaves me with that nagging feeling that I've done it all before.